Tag dreizehn: Machinery and the Munich Space Needle

May 17th

I was excited but also sad that it was finally Friday. It meant the free day was here, but also that my time in Germany was almost up.

I got up relatively early so I could get on a train to Munich with Justin. We just sat down when heard a bunch of loud American voices behind us, and realized it was the group going to Salzburg on the first leg of their journey. We sat with them until it was time to get off in Munich. I met up with Michael and Ollie, who are family friends who live just outside of Munich.

My uncle was part of a foreign exchange program in high school, and we still keep in touch with the German family, as they often visit us in the US, and now I was able to visit them in Germany.

I had done my research and knew what I wanted to do for the day, so after a quick coffee and snack, I bought a day pass for the public transportation, and we took the tram to the Deutsches Museum.

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A nice coffee in the sun.

The ticket for being a student was extremely cheap, only €4,50! Since we were there pretty early, the museum was pretty empty at first. We wandered through the exhibits, about boats and planes, energy and power transmission. There was an interactive section about physics, and a large new exhibit on nanotechnology, which I found more interesting than I expected. There were exhibits about musical technology, computers, toys, ceramics, glass, pharmaceuticals, and instruments of measurement.

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A poster from the toys section with a quote from an architect I really like.

I kept us in the manufacturing and machining exhibit for probably longer than the guys wanted, but as something I find an interest in, it was really cool to see the history of machining that I didn’t really know about. There was an old, giant tap and die set (used to thread pre-existing holes for a particular bolt) that looked almost exactly the same as tap and die sets today. I guess if the process works really well why change it.

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The scale is hard to tell, but this is a giant tap and die set.

There were some cool old drills, mills, and lathes, though I wasn’t only impressed by the old machinery. I don’t know why this blew my mind as much as it did, but I was surprised when I saw a large broaching machine. I used a broach (a tool used to change the shape of a circular hole, commonly into a hex) a bunch in high school, though we just used it with an arbor press, and the broaches turned out pretty bad, and I guess I never realized or thought about how commercial parts had such a good hex shape. I was also impressed by the gear making machines, which I had also never seen before.

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The gear cutting machine.
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The information about the broaching machine! (I didn’t get a good photo of the actual broach)

Although we walked through almost every exhibit, we didn’t get the chance to go to the observatories, partially because the door to one of them was locked, and partially because we had had enough of being in that building after wandering around for hours.

The second, and only other thing on my list to-do in Munich was visit the Olympiapark where the 1972 Olympics were held. We got on the subway and were there in no time.

I didn’t really know about the Olympiapark until we discussed it in my architecture class, where we not only talked about the incredible structures created through engineering in tension of steel cables, but also about the branding and design by graphic designer Otl Aicher that was used throughout the Olympics. I’m a big fan of the style and color scheme he used, and thought it was pretty cool to see the colors Aicher used right when we got out of the subway station. We were kinda hungry, so before we went to the park we stopped at a bakery right by the station and got pretzels, then walked to the park.

We walked around some of the steel cable structures so I could get a closer look before we went up to the Olympiaturm. The elevator was pretty quick, and the view was pretty great, minus the crying baby on the observation deck. Again, I was glad I brought my film camera because we could see the Alps! After walking all the way around a few times, we went back down.

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The Olympiaturm!
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A close up of the steel cable structure.
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It’s hard to tell, but the Alps are in the distance!

To my dismay, other than some buildings and a few signs, Otl Aicher’s color scheme and designs aren’t really used anymore. I was hoping for something in the gift shop to at least be reminiscent of his design, but sadly they only had generic souvenirs. Still, if I’m ever in Munich again, I think I could spend a whole day riding a bike and lounging around the Olympiapark. We walked around the park for a little bit longer before taking the subway back to Marienplatz.

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Another view from the observation deck.

I got some strawberries, then since I wasn’t too hungry we got some currywurst, since I hadn’t had any yet. We took a break from walking and relaxed for a bit, but before long it was time to go back to the train station, and to Augsburg.

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The last design of the day.

The final design of the day goes to this parking garage in Otl Aicher’s Olympic color scheme. It’s less concrete of a design than the previous sign/designs of the day, but it fits really well with all of the other materials designed for the 1972 Olympics, from the tickets to the brochures on doping, to the promotional matchboxes.

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